The New One set for new tactics in bid to stay the distance
Veteran hurdler The New One will be the subject of more patient tactics when he tackles three miles for the first time in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham, according to trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
The remarkable 10-year-old has contested the last four renewals of the Champion Hurdle - finishing a luckless third in 2014, fifth in 2015, fourth in 2016 and fifth again 12 months ago.
He has stuck to the tried-and-tested two-mile route so far this season, most recently claiming his fourth victory in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock, but will step up in distance on his return to the Cotswolds next month and Twiston-Davies admits only time will tell if his stamina will last out.
Speaking at from his Naunton base, the trainer said: "I'm not confident at all (about the trip), that's why we're going to hang on to him a bit and the plan is to ride him differently.
"We won't be making all the running and doing things like that. He's won over two-and-a-half quite a few times, but has he been staying on at the end? I don't really know. If he can improve for the distance, and people tell me he will, I'm sure he'll be all right. We will ride him that bit differently and I can see him galloping up the hill. Sam (Twiston-Davies) has been keen to try three miles for a long time."
Twiston-Davies is hoping that Bristol De Mai can get his season back on track in tomorrow week's Premier Chase at Kelso.
After edging out stable companion Blaklion in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in the autumn, the grey was a staggering 57-length winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
However, little has gone right for the seven-year-old since and after disappointing runs in the King George VI Chase and the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham, he is set to have his sights lowered before potentially returning to Grade One level at Aintree in April.
"He'll go to Kelso next weekend and then the Betway Bowl," Twiston-Davies said. "The idea is to give him a nice run round and get a bit of confidence back into him again, having had two not-so-good runs, and then go on to Aintree.
"Hopefully the Gold Cup will be in the thinking next year. I'd imagine we'll start off in the Charlie Hall again. He just needs to be a bit more consistent to be a Gold Cup horse."